Today we left Niagara Falls after breakfast. Our wonderful B&B hosts gave us a ride to the station (much appreciated!) We had to change trains at a place called Buffalo, which was only an hour away so we were a little unsure why our tickets said the ride took almost three hours. All became clear once we boarded the train.
Shortly after we crossed the river and re-entered America the conductor made the following announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen, this train is now under control of the US Government and will remain under control of the US Government until they choose to release us. No one can leave the train until the US Government decides to release us. Please stay in your seats and wait for further instructions." This announcement was repeated at least afurther three times.
TWO HOURS LATER, we were finally "released" from the US Government and allowed to make our way to Buffalo Depew, NY. Bearing in mind we've got to spend 10 hours in this place while we wait for the connecting train to take us to Chicago, you can imagine our faces when we pulled up at this station. It has two rail tracks and one platform, one track to off load and collect new passengers and one for trains to pass through. It has one building, in it a ticket office, a waiting area, a vending machine and restrooms. Thats it. You walk outside, there's a car park. No cafe, no bar, no nothing. The station is on a highway with just depots near by and vast quantities of land.
So, about five minutes later I was already going crazy and would really rather watch paint dry and sit in this waiting room for the next 9 hours 55 minutes. Thankfully we were rescued by a taxi driver (who obviously makes his living this way). He asked if our train was the midnight one, and we answered yes. He then suggested we checked in our luggage and then took a 10$ ride to the mall nearby. I was in his taxi before Dan could say "What do you think?", I mean after mutual agreement we left our luggage with the attendant and we were on our way. The taxi driver told us a little about the mall and suggested in the evening, after we had eaten, to watch a movie, which went down a treat. So we had our day mapped out, we found the Apple shop and uploaded our latest Blog and checked emails etc, we did a little shopping and Dan found a polo golf t-shirt for 7$ (don't know when he thinks he's going to play golf!) and we bought a travel pillow and blanket for the reamining journeys. We grabbed dinner in a really nice italian restaurant, where the portion sizes were HUGE and then we went and saw Inception (fantastic movie by the way, you should go see it! LC has improved immensely from his Titanic days). We got back to the station to find a single mom with two kids under 4 going slightly stir-crazy after spending 10 hours in the station (and who could blame her?) and of course, the train was delayed!
The train journey was uneventful and went very quickly. Dan slept for about six hours and I slept right through until we arrived in Chicago. The trains are fab, if you imagine being sat on an English train, the row of chairs in front of you isn't there and you've got a reclining chair that goes back quite a long way, I'd say until you were at a 45 degree angle, and they also have a built in leg rest which you elevate and you are in a very comfy position, and it enables people like me to curl right up almost into a flat foetal position. The buffet car is really reasonable as well and again nothing like ours. You can get a breakfast roll (egg and sausage muffin) for 4$ and they are surprisingly yummy!
Hope you're all OK and you are continuing to enjoy what you read.
Love Elles xx